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Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Shakespeare

photo

This building is locally listed, being a modern re-fronting of a 19th. century building. Behind lies Court No.7, the last to survive, albeit only in part, of the many that were built in Coventry in the last century to house a growing working population. The frontage is basically 19th century with heavy 21st century modifications.

NAME SHAKESPEARE
ADDRESS 18 SPON STREET

THIS PREMISES HAS BEEN KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY

See all available records HERE

FROM TO KNOWN AS
1808 2015 SHAKESPEARE, SHAKESPEARE'S HEAD, SHAKESPEARE INN, SHAKSPEARE INN
2015 present SAMOAN JOE'S TIKI BAR

Both of these photos show the Coventry Sunday Schools King George V Coronation Day procession. They were taken at the same time and are both included as they show Spon Street from outside the ‘Shakspeare Inn’ in each direction. In the top view to the right of the Shakspeare (without the middle 'e' ) is court 7; then before the works entrance to Rotherhams at no. 19 is M. Ricks Provision Dealer. Just out of the picture to the right is the ‘Old Windmill’. The ‘Shakspeare’ has since been refaced and the buildings to the right have been demolished. The bottom picture shows to the left of the ‘Shakspeare’, Alexander Edward’s Watch & Clock repairers, followed by the ‘Board Vaults’ then after court 6 the ‘Recruiting Sergeant’ at No.14. This latter pub closed in 1928, has been much altered and is now known as Tudor House’. On the corner of Queen Victoria Road the tall building is the ‘Plough Hotel’ which was bombed in the last War, Alexander Edwards, the jewellers, now being in a rebuilt shop on this site.

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) was born in Stratford and married Anne Hathaway there in 1582. Little is known of his life, but we have 37 plays and some wonderful poetry, yet he has not had the effect we might expect on pub names. There are more references to Dickens and his novels than to Shakespeare and his plays on British inn signs.

This building is locally listed, being a modern re-fronting of a 19th. century building. Behind lies Court No.7, the last to survive, albeit only in part, of the many that were built in Coventry in the last century to house a growing working population. The frontage is basically 19th century with heavy 21st century modifications.

The reputed date of building of the pub is 1808 and in 1811 the Freemen of Spon Street held a meeting there to defend their rights and privileges on Common and Lammas grounds. In 1844 an inquest was held here. In 1850 a man was fined for 'fighting in Spon Street on Sunday afternoon and assaulting P.C. Symonds in the execution of his duty'. The quarrel had started in the Shakespeare's Head public house and the police had been called to expel the person.

In July 1879 the Midlands experienced violent thunderstorms and lightning struck a chimney at the rear of the Shakespeare. There you are, extreme weather is nothing new! Debris fell through the roof of a house in Shakespeare Yard and into a room occupied by three children. Fortunately no-one was harmed.

For the children there was a 'children's wake' in the early years of the 20th. century. The throng marched to a field off the Allesley Old Road where sports and games took place whilst the menfolk brought food in washing baskets. The procession was led by a banner saying, 'Welcome to the Shakespeare Inn'. I'm not sure whether this was aimed at the children or the menfolk or families or what, but it would seem to be a counter to the temperance movement, showing what a respectable healthy lifestyle the pub represented. Still does too!

In 1984 Chris Arnott found 'an equally depressing scene: faded yellow walls and strip lights, a pool table and a television mouthing off to nobody in particular'. Today the pub looks much brighter, but no more inviting.

Coventry Evening Telegraph clipping from September 2nd 196

Coventry Evening Telegraph clipping from September 2nd 1960

Licensees
1822 - 1823 R. Sanders
1835 William Sanders
1841 Joseph Cleaver
1850 John Heslop
1861 Benjamin Shepherd
1868 William Read
1871 - 1874 Joseph Arch watch finisher & victualler
1879 Arthur Statham
1881 Philip Hakewise
1886 W. S. Lucas
1890 - 1891 B. Duggan
1893 - 1924 Charles W. H. Statham
1926 - 1927 E. G. Statham
1929 W. Luckman
1931 - 1932 W. Burton
1933 - 1940 E. Read
1960 John Corbin (see clipping above)
1986 Mat & Pauline Moten
map
 

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DICT PN William Shakespeare ( 1564 - 1616 ) was born in Startford and married Anne Hathaway there in 1582. Little is knwon of his life, but we have 37 plays and some wonderful poetry, yet he has not had the effect we might expect on pub names. There are more reference to Dickens and his novels than to Shakespeare and his plays on British inn signs.

SSTS Locally listed.

This is a modern re-fronting of a 19th century building, behind which lies the remaining section of Court No7, the last to survive ( albeit only in part ) of the many which were built in Coventry in the last century to house a growing working population. As space was so limited and green field sites surrounding the city had not been released for development, the only place to build new houses was in the lond back gardens of the medaeval plots.

c1800 COC P40 Mentioned in Napoleonic poem

1808 News 109 Date of building of pub

1808 JA32 PA 56/108/31-32 The society ( friendly ? ) now meeting at the Shakespeare head, Spon Street.

WTC 11/2d NBT

1811 JA16 First mentioned when the Freemen of Spon Street held a meeting to defend their rights and privileges on Common and Lammas grounds.

1811 JA34 JCM Shakespeare's Head

6.1844 Spon P97 An inquest held at the Shakespeare, Spon Street

24.6.1850 Spon P14-16 A man had been fined 20 shillings ' for fighting in Spon Street on Sunday afternoon and assaulting P. C. Symonds in the execution of his duty.....the police had been called to the Shakespeare's Head public house, where the quarrel originated, for the purpose of expelling the party '.

1851 Source 49 Board of Health Map

1855 JA34 JCM Shakespeare only

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P39 SHAKESPEARE, Spon Street Alehouse
Owner : Mary Read, Spon Street
later Northampton Brewery Co Ltd
Licensee : Walter Read
14.8.1879 TOL to Arthur Statham
17.3.1881 TOL to Philip Hakewise
11.8.1881 TOL to Francis Phillips
3.11.1881 TOL to Sarah Ann Adams
27.11.1882 TOL to Joseph Evans
31.5.1883 TOL to John Warner
24.4.1884 TOL to Joseph ?
6.11.1884 TOL to William Scott Lucas
4.11.1886 TOL to William Taylor
8.3.1888 TOL to Charles Slater
19.4.1888 TOL to Ben Duggan
31.7.1890 TOL to Henry Thomas Hill
7.1.1892 TOL to John Wright
3.3.1892TOL to George Allen
8.12.1898 TOL to Charles Statham
20.8.1876 fined 10/- & costs permitting gambling
26.11.1891 fined 10/- & costs & license endorsed for permitting gaming

7.1879 Spon P14 In July 1879 the Midlands experienced terrific thunderstorms especially in Coventry. In the early hours of the morning lightening struck the chimney at the rear of the Shakespeare pub and debris fell through the roof of a house in Shakespeare Yard. A portion fell into a room in which three children were sleeping. Fortunately none were injured but they were ' greatly alarmed '. In its heyday ' The Shake ' featured much in the lives of the local residents - for better or worse. In the early years of the last century there was an annual ' childrens wake ' from the pub. The neccessary cash was raised by the customers. With a banner saying ' Welcomne to the Shakespeare Inn ' held high they marched to a field on the Allesley Old Road where sports and games took place. Male volunteers carried washing baskets full of food and each child was given a bag of sweets

P15 Three photos

1887 COC Cov Times Inn signs

1892 CBH P64 EDWARDS, A. ( Bicycles )

From 1892, Alexander Edwards & Company were seen to be trading from the ' Shakespeare Buildings ', 17 Spon Street. Was this next door ?

1910 ACOV P25B Photo

1911 Spon P16 Photo

1919 C Mcar H P70 HILL1919 - 1924
Sidney Hill was born in Coventry in 1886, the son of Henry T. Hill, once pub landlord of the Shakespeare Inn on Spon Street.

2.9.1960 Citypubs 7

1984 Pubscrawl 87 When the parents of Hilda Clapessoni left the pub at the turn of the century, she says it was a flat fronted building with white cast-stone enhanced by window boxes and hanging baskets. much more in keeping with the present surroundings than the nondescript frontage that someone in his wisdom bestowed upon it some 30 or 40 years ago.

Photo in 1913. Spelt Shakspeare

The present tiled frontage may lack rustic charm, but at least standards of spelling have improved since the photograph was taken in 1913. Venture beyond the front door and you find yourself in a drab passageway where the sign writers of the 1980's have been at work with felt tip pens. I poked by head round the door opf the public bar and found myself face to face with an equally depressing scene: faded yellow walls and strip lights, a pool table and television mouthing to nobody in particular. I withdrew and wandered off down this seemingly endless passageway in search of the lounge. It was worth the walk. In most city pubs I find the stereotype mock beams and brasses decor tediously predictable. In the Shakespeare it made for a pleasant surprise.

Spon P12 Whilst the next building, the Shakespeare pub, dates back to the eighteenth century there is little to indicate its age today. The frontage is basically noneteenth century with twenty-first century modifications.

P13 Photo

2015 Fred became SAMOAN JOE'S TIKI BAR

LICENSEES

1822/23 Pigot R. Sanders

1828/29 Pigot Chas Bagshaw

1835 Pigot William Sanders

1841 Census Joseph Cleaver 20 yo b Wks M Eliza, 25 & 2 others

1841 Pigot Joseph Cleaver

1845 Kelly W. Hulk Shakespeare's Head

1850 COS John Heslop

1861 Census Benjamin Shepherd 61 yo b Princethorpe m Lucy, 57 & 3d, 1s, 1 servant

1868 Buchanan W. Read

23.11.1868 Lantern William Read

1871 Census Joseph Arch 30 yo watch finisher & victualler b Exhall m Margaret, 28 & 2s

1874 C&B J. Arch
1878 LJ Vol 1 P39 Walter Read
1879 LJ Vol 1 P39 Walter Read
1879 LJ Vol 1 P39 Arthur Statham
1879 Stevens Arthur Statham
1881 LJ Vol 1 P39 Arthur Statham
1881 LJ Vol 1 P39 Philip Hakewise
1881 C&B Philip Hakewise
1881 LJ Vol 1 P39 Francis Phillips
1881 LJ Vol 1 P39 Sarah Ann Adams
1882 LJ Vol 1 P39 Sarah Ann Adams
1882 LJ Vol 1 P39 Joseph Evans
1883 LJ Vol 1 P39 Joseph Evans
1883 LJ Vol 1 P39 John Warner
1884 LJ Vol 1 P39 John Warner
1884 LJ Vol 1 P39 Joseph ?
1884 LJ Vol 1 P39 William Scott Lucas
1886 C&B W. S. Lucas
1886 LJ Vol 1 P39 William Scott Lucas
1886 LJ Vol 1 P39 William Taylor
1888 LJ Vol 1 P39 William Taylor
1888 LJ Vol 1 P39 Charles Slater
1888 LJ Vol 1 P39 Ben Duggan
1890/91 R&G B. Duggan
1890 LJ Vol 1 P39 Ben Duggan
1890 LJ Vol 1 P39 Henry Thomas Hill
1892 LJ Vol 1 P39 Henry Thomas Hill
1892 LJ Vol 1 P39 John Wright
1892 LJ Vol 1 P39 George Allen
1893 Reporter G. Allen

1894 R&G G. Allen

1896 R&G G. Allen
1898 LJ Vol 1 P39 George Allen
1898 LJ Vol 1 P39 Charles Statham
1903 R&G C. Statham

1905 R&G C. Statham

1909 R&G C. W. H. Statham

1911/12 Spennell Charles Statham

1912/13 Spennell Charles Statham

1919 Spennell Charles Statham

1921/22 Spennell Charles Statham

1924 P. James Charles Statham

1926/27 P. James E. G. Statham

1929 P. James W. Luckman

1931/32 P. James W. Burton

1933/34 P. James E. Read

1935/36 P. James E. Read

1937/38 P. James E. Read

1939/40 P. James E. Read

1953 LTSD

23.1.1986 News 109 Mat & Pauline Moten

OWNERS

1878 LJ Vol 1 P39 Mary Read, Spon Street
later LJ Vol 1 P39 Northampton Brewery Co Ltd
1898 LJ Vol 1 P39 Northampton Brewery Co Ltd

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